By Khaled Diab
A set of hitherto unknown ancient toilet rolls were uncovered by archaeologists on Good Friday in the Dead Sea area in what might prove to be the find of the 21st century.
The Belgian-Egyptian team admitted that the discovery had taken them by surprise since they had previously assumed that toilet paper was a modern invention. "We'd always assumed that Middle Easterners preferred water and that toilet paper was invented in China in the 14th century," a confounded team member admitted.
But this particular roll was nearly two millennia old, according to the latest carbon dating technology, and made from rough Egyptian papyrus, suggesting it may have been an import. "It must have been quite rough on your bottom, especially compared to the super-soft rolls I prefer to buy," another team member claimed in disgust.
An embarrassed colleague chimed in: "When we first saw the papyrus in a cave, we thought we'd stumbled upon another set of Dead Sea Scrolls and were completely chuffed. You can imagine our disappointment when, instead of writing, we found ancient caked-in excrement."
But the origin of toilet paper may not be the only tenet of faith that is likely to go arse over tits following this find. "However, a large boulder outside the cave gave us a brainwave and we decided to get the papyrus analysed."
On the Last Supper's menu
State-of-the-art forensic analysis uncovered signs of unleavened bread tinged with red wine, traces of maror, charoset and karpas. "These items are usually consumed during a Passover Seder and that is what the Last Supper of Christ is believed to have been," the team leader explained.
"This means that this may be the tomb of Jesus which was found empty by Mary on Easter Sunday. It also suggests that Jesus had been alive for a while and that the baking sun on the cross had given him diarrhoea. Alternatively, it could mean that Jesus didn't actually die on the cross and was taken down too soon."
Written on 7 April 2007
© Khaled Diab.